By Yoon Joung Lee
Marilyn Monroe was born in 1926 in Los Angeles General Hospital. She was born as Norma Jeane Mortenson. Her mother had married a Martin E. Mortensen in 1924, but divorced when she was pregnant. Since her mother misspelled her father’s name on her birth certificate, she never knew who her father was. During her childhood, she frequently stayed at a family friend’s or at orphanages due to her mother’s mental illness.
Her first modeling was on one of Blue Book, appearing on dozens of magazines covers. Those modeling photos captivated people’s attention and brought her to a screen test with 20th Century Fox. The executives, directors and photographers immediately recognized her potential and ability. She quickly became a “photographers dream” and Marilyn Monroe with a platinum shade of blonde was newly born in 1946.
In 1947 she played an uncredited role as a telephone operator in “The Shocking Miss Pilgrim.” The same year, she won several brief roles in “Dangerous Years,” “Green Grass of Wyoming,” and “You Were Meant for Me.” Her contract with 20 Century Fox ended in late 1947.
She signed a 6 month contract with Columbia Pictures. There, she met her drama coach, Natasha Lytess and she was Monroe’s acting coach for several years. In 1948 Monroe starred in the low-budget musical, “Ladies of the Chorus.” She sang the first song, but the movie didn’t bring any success.
In 1950, she played her first serious acting job as the young mistress of an aging criminal in “The Asphalt Jungle”. She earned many favorable reviews from movie experts and the public.
Her works “Clash By Night” and “Don’t Bother to Knock” in 1952, both earned favorable notices. The same year, she also filmed “Niagara” with Joseph Cotten and this movie made her a superstar.
The year of 1952 was a special year for her because she met several crucial roles establishing her stardom, and she met her romantic partner, Joe Dimaggio who had recently retired from baseball.
In 1954 Joe and Monroe married and their wedding news was announced in many different media over the world. However, their marriage did not last too long. Joe did not want her to work as an actress, he wanted her to stay home, be a housewife, not be a star of such magnitude. They separated in late 1954 and divorced later.
In 1954, she appeared in the musical “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” But the show was not successful. During this summer, she suffered from bronchitis and anemia. She also showed serious side-effects from sleeping pills she had been taking for the past few years.
In September 1954, her most notable film roles, a skirt-blowing key scene for, “The Seven Year Itch” was shot on Lexington Avenue in New York City. About several thousand people including her fans and photographers gathered outside to see and record her.
With her growing fame as a sex symbol, her private life was a matter of public and intense media scrutiny, and she suffered from fragile health and emotional problems. She gradually was late, unprepared and unstable at work after the failure of her third marriage.
In 1962, she was found dead in her Brentwood home and an investigation announced her death caused by an overdose of medication. Marilyn Monroe’s career as an actress lasted for 16 years and she was on 29 films. Although she died many decades ago, her images are everywhere and she is still famous currently as she was named the sixth greatest female star of all time in the American Film institute’s list of 100. Monroe and her life story represents the image of Hollywood and its glory and fame.